December 23. According to my children, Christmas can’t come fast enough; however, I have mixed feelings right now. On one hand, being the Ebenezer Accountant that I am, the growing list of receipts makes me agree with my children, though for entirely different reasons. In fact it’s a time like this when I can relate to John Grisham’s character, Luther Krank (an accountant, BTW), in Skipping Christmas:
He unfolded the spreadsheet, and began pointing. “Here, my dear, is what we did last Christmas. Six thousand, one hundred dollars we spent on Christmas. Six thousand, one hundred dollars.”
“I heard you the first time.”
“And precious little to show for it. The vast majority of it down the drain. Wasted. And that, of course, does not include my time, your time, the traffic, stress, worry, bickering, ill-will, sleep loss—all the wonderful things that we pour into the holiday season.”
On the other hand, I enjoy the giving. I also love seeing a smile from my wife and hearing the giddy sound of laughter from my children. I cherish the hugs and the family time as we watch a warm Christmas movie on the television (my wife already has three lined up for this year). Those are the things make me say, "Christmas can’t get here soon enough."
For me, Christmas is not about getting gifts anymore. Growing up and the cost of being Santa to everyone, including all the charities that crawl out of the ant hill this time of year, can certainly take the joy out of that part. However, like Luther Krank finally realizes, Christmas is about so much more. It’s about being together as a family. Both sets of parents (my parents and my in-laws) live in town now, and I am thankful that we can all share the season with each other. I am thankful that we can go see A Christmas Carol with my parents. I am thankful that we’ll get to spend Christmas day with everyone. These are the memories that I want for my children—memories that will last far longer than the gifts we give this year.
For all my friends and family out there, I wish you a Merry Christmas. I hope that you have a warm celebration with loved ones. Build those memories.
On the writing:
Lost Hearts is still a work in progress—up to 77K words now. Even though the pace has slowed, I find myself still enjoying the process. I love the character discoveries along the way.
Last week, I received notice that one of my short stories “Don’t Mess With The Moon Goddess” has been accepted by Long Story Short. It is scheduled to be published in March, 2010, and it’s a reminder that some stories take a year or more before they are actually published. I’ll be sure to post a link here once it’s released.